Sunday soapbox

May 31, 2020

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Let us not take ourselves too seriously. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom. – Queen Elizabeth II


Queen addresses Commonwealth

April 6, 2020

For the fourth time in her long reign, Queen Elizabeth addresses the Commonwealth:

TVNZ has the full speech:

“I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time. A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.

“I want to thank everyone on the NHS (National Health Service) front line, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles, who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all. I am sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times.

“I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones. Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.

“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.

“The moments when the United Kingdom has come together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit; and its symbol will be the rainbows drawn by children.

“Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort.

“And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths, and of none, are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation.

“It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister. We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do. While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed – and that success will belong to every one of us.

“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.

“But for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.”


Quotes of the year

December 31, 2018

That’s creative thinking – if I had known that I probably would have joined them. –  Inspector John Kelly on the New Year revellers who built a large sandcastle in the middle of the Tairua estuary in an attempt to avoid the liquor ban.

Among western leftists, morality had become culture-specific. If imperialism’s victims asked for support, then they would be given it, unquestioningly. If not, then they would tend to their own political gardens exclusively.

The problem for western feminists is that, in spite of these cultural and political self-denying ordinances, the only garden currently showing unequivocal signs of flourishing, is their own. Across vast regions of the planet, not only are women’s rights not flourishing, they are being diminished. – Chris Trotter

Any family, in any part of the country, dealing with any one of those challenges, would find it difficult. But when you have all of those at once, it is incredibly difficult to see how a family could navigate their way through all of that on their own.

And you sure as heck, can’t have an official sitting in Wellington waving a magic wand, and fixing it for them. – Louise Upston

If I look at my colleagues, they get up and go to work every day because they care so much. . .Why would we do that if we didn’t care? Why would we do that if we didn’t care about individuals and actually want something better for their lives? Louise Upston

Men who have been inculcated into a culture of toxic masculinity need to regularly top up their King Dick Metre, which can only be fuelled by the disempowerment of someone else. And that someone else is very often a woman.

Their feelings of strength only come when someone else is in a position of weakness. They can only feel valid when they are able to invalidate someone else. They only feel like they have won when someone else has lost. – Kasey Edwards

Could you imagine a return to a world where the only people that gave dairy farmers grief were sheep farmers and bank managers?

Could you imagine the next time Fonterra was in the news, it was for a collaboration with Lynx in producing a deodorant that smelled of silage and cowshit, that dairy farmers could put on if they used too much soap in the shower?

Maybe we can hope that our on-farm processes continue to develop, along with scientific developments, adoption of best practices and consumer preferences, as opposed to at the whim of vote-hungry politicians, misinformed urban housewives and the combined armies of anaemic vegans, animal rights activists, goblins and orcs.

Maybe we could hope that we can reverse the trend that has seen rural folk and farmers become an ethnic minority in this country – a minority that is now seen by many New Zealanders as dirty, destructive and somehow freeloading on resources, with less credibility then prostitution. . .  –  Pete Fitzherbert

We welcome the government’s focus on tracking the number of children in persistent poverty and hardship. However, setting multiple arbitrary targets for reducing child hardship is easier than actually helping people extricate themselves from their predicaments. – Dr Oliver Hartwich

Good intentions are not enough. They’re not even a start, because there’s been a lot of money wasted and lives wrecked on the basis of good intentions expressed through public services. Bill English

 . . . the only reason we have a 37-year-old female Prime Minister is because a septuagenarian put her there. – Fran O’Sullivan

Peters’ inability to contain his bitterness suggests the coalition negotiations were a charade. His resentment towards National is deep-rooted, and since the election, the feeling is reciprocated. It is unlikely that National’s change of leader will diminish Peters’ toxicity.  – The Listener

It strikes me as rather unfair that while we’ve been up in arms over where the country’s burgeoning cow population does its business, our burgeoning human population has been fouling up the waterways with what comes out of our own backsides. We can’t berate dairy farmers for dirtying the rivers if we’re content for our biggest city to keep using its waterways as one giant long drop. – Nadine Higgins

Over-reacting about everything someone says or does, creating controversy over silly innocuous things such as what I choose to wear or not wear, is not moving us forward. It’s creating silly distractions from real issues.Jennifer Lawrence

The incident has also highlighted the danger of a government full of academics, health professionals, public servants, teachers and career politicians picking business winners.

The idea that councils around the country would rail or truck their rubbish to Westport for incineration is one of those ludicrous ideas that only regional development officials would think is a flyer. – Martin van Beynen

Getting policy right matters. In the end, lots of money and good intentions is never enough. You’ve got to get the policy right. – Nicola Willis

So consumed are they with the grassy vistas opening up in front of them that they are oblivious to their drawing ever closer to journey’s end, namely the holding yards of the local freezing works. – John Armstrong

Businesses, by and large, are better at coping with bad news than they are at coping with uncertainty. You cannot plan for it or adapt to it. Hamish Rutherford

Feminism is about choice, the right to have one, the right to be equal. It is not about trampling men to death in the process. It is not about spending so much time telling girls that “they can do anything” that they become curious and confused as to why you keep telling them something they already knew.

Guess what? The girls we’re raising haven’t had it occur to them they can’t do anything. – Kate Hawkesby

I’m not sure what affordable means but I am sure I’m not alone in that. It’s bound to be a complicated formula with one of the variables being the price of avocados. I just hope it doesn’t add up to borrowing from KiwiBank to buy from KiwiBuild during the KiwiBubble resulting in KiwiBust.James Elliott

 If we believe that correcting harmful inequities lies in asserting an inherent malice and/or obsolescence in all people with a specific combination of age, gender and ethnicity then we have already lost the fight. The real enemy is the unchecked and uncontested power exercised through institutions, social norms and structures which privilege one group over another.    – Emma Espiner

A tagged tax has to be a tagged tax, otherwise it’s a rort. – Mike Hosking

While the Greens are dreaming of compost, wheelbarrows, chook poo and quinoa, the rest of us wouldn’t mind getting on with business. And that means we need water. – Mike Hosking

Certainly a rational person, and especially one convinced of the threat of global warming and the possibility of more droughts, would increase, not stop investment in irrigation?

That is not to argue that water quality and nitrate leaching are not problems – they are. But to stop irrigation as a solution is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The rational approach is to find ways of reducing nitrate leaching even under high-producing irrigated pastures. This requires more science, more evidence, more rational thinking. – Dr Doug Edmeades

Businesses — it doesn’t matter what they are — require reliable steady staff; not rocket scientists but reliable steady staff. Unless we have those types of people available our whole economy has an issue. – Andre de Bruin

There’s power in love. There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live. – Michael Bruce Curry

The well-being of all communities can be enhanced by enabling greater levels of social solidarity, empowering people in their personal and community lives, enhancing social infrastructure and establishing opportunities for dignified work and alternative livelihoods. – Tracey McIntosh

Tough on crime is popular with the insular and ignorant when it comes to justice policy, while restorative approaches with enduring outcomes that help people stay away from jail because they offend less are not popular, not sexy and seen as “soft on crime”. Chester Borrows

Everyone can do something amazing once. You’ve got to back it up and do it again – Rowland Smith

The money spent on eliminating risk in one area means less available to fix problems in other areas. In other words, the consequence of lowering risk in one sphere can hinder minimising risk in another one. Chew carefully on that one. – Martin van Beynen

That’s what the call for diversity means. An endless slicing and dicing of society into every thinner minority groups with everyone scrambling for quotas and box ticking.

It’s a bureaucratic nightmare. It’s also a complete denial of individuality. You are not important. All that matters is what boxes you tick. It’s the boxes that define you, not what you do, what you think or what you produce. – Rodney Hide

We went to do a story about an American billionaire buying up wineries in Wairarapa. Local wine makers were going broke and in stepped the American billionaire. I went down with a TV crew expecting locals to be up in arms about the ‘foreigner’ buying up the land. But I couldn’t find one voice raised against him.

There is one thing worse than a foreign buyer, they told me, and that’s not having a buyer at all. – Guyon Espiner

It feels like a Dear Winston moment really – Mike Jaspers

We grow up thinking the world is fair, but it’s not, so you’re not always going to get the results you’re looking for. The challenge is to pick yourself up again when you have those days.Joe Schmidt

I believe rugby is similar to society, where it is about interdependence and us trying to help each other. Imagine if everyone in life became the best version of themselves and made life easier for those either side of them. – Joe Schmidt

The very premise of our system is we learn from our mistakes and wrongs and are given freedom to make amends.Mike Hosking

Grown-ups know that being short $60 a week is not what ails and troubles our most vulnerable children. Proper parenting can’t be bought for $60 a week. – Rodney Hide.

So stop beating yourself up for buying too many books or for having a to-read list that you could never get through in three lifetimes. All those books you haven’t read are indeed a sign of your ignorance. But if you know how ignorant you are, you’re way ahead of the vast majority of other people. – Jessica Stillman

Feminism has descended into a cauldron of cattiness; of nasty factionalism. It doesn’t empower. It  scrutinises and judges groups within groups. Like extreme left or right politics, the creed is hardest on those most like it – those who should know better but fail. – Lindsay Mitchell

Regional development is about more than funding a few projects; it’s about allowing people to make a living. – Paul Goldsmith

This image of Anglo-Saxon culture isn’t grounded in the up-to-date distinct cultural traditions or practices of the United Kingdom. It is a cover of a misremembered song, played by a drunk who forgot the words mid-song and so started humming. – Haimona Gray

Imagine the world today if William Wilberforce and Kate Sheppard had refused to engage with people whose views they found repugnant. If Martin Luther and Martin Luther King Jr had decided not to argue back. If Desmond Tutu and Te Whiti had seen no point in suffering the slings and arrows of their opponents because, hey, nothing’s gonna change.

The twist in this debate is that the Molyneuxs, Southerns and other so-called champions of free speech only win when their shouting drowns out other voices. Voices of conciliation and peace. Because regardless of the polarisation we see today, people can change. We can learn. And, even if we still disagree on some profound issues, we can find other things to agree on and other things to respect in each other. Tim Watkin

The day that this country’s dictated to by the social media trolls is the day that democracy dies. If we are to be spooked into compliance by what an anonymous moron threatens by the swipe of a cellphone screen then we’re little better than they are. – Barry Soper

It is unfortunate, but the world seems to have lost the ability to disagree well. Civility in our discussions and debates over contentious issues seems to have been lost. We are increasingly polarised in our views with recourse to extreme positions in order to ‘prove’ or force our point. However, the answer is not to avoid difficult and, at times, confronting conversations. Rather, community leaders, and universities in particular, play a vital role in leading our communities in those discussions, as difficult as they may be, applying the principles of informed discussion, compromise, enlightenment of the points of view of others, and if all else fails, respectful disagreement. – Chris Gallavin

But where is that line that we need to find as a Parliament between being culturally sensitive to people that may not see things in the way in which New Zealand’s own cultures have developed, and, on the other hand, being firm enough that, actually, no, these things, regardless of culture, are not right. Nick Smith

We have an education system that does not reward excellence and does not punish failure. Decades of bureaucratic hand-wringing has delivered a broken system that relies on the personal integrity and good intentions of those who choose teaching as a profession. – Damien Grant

After all, as long as we can discern the truth clearly, love it passionately, and defend it vigorously, we have nothing to fear from open debate; and if we can’t do those things, then why are we claiming to be a university at all? – Dr Jonathan Tracy

The answer to suffering, physical or mental, is affection and good care. This should come first and as far as possible from family and community, supported by institutions.

“Finishing people off” may suit our current individualistic, utilitarian, impatient culture, but it will degrade us all in the end. – Carolyn Moynihan

In a liberal, democratic society, there will always be speech in the public domain that some people find offensive, distasteful or unsavoury. Unless that speech is manifestly doing harm to others, there is no case to ban it, only a case for arguing strongly against it or ridiculing it. Recourse to suppression is redolent of authoritarianism, not democracy. – Chris Bishop

The irony is that although the elimination of subsidies started out as a kind of political punishment, it wound up becoming a long-term blessing for farmers. We went through a difficult period of adjustment but emerged from it stronger than ever. . .

 We became ruthlessly efficient, which is another way of saying that we became really good at what we do.

We also improved our ability to resist regulations that hurt agriculture. Subsidies empower politicians, who can threaten to cut off aid if farmers refuse to accept new forms of control. Without subsidies, we have more freedom to solve problems through creativity and innovation rather than the command-and-control impulses of government. – Craige Mackenzie

But as someone who’s spent a bit of time writing and talking about the important, and not so important, issues in life, there is one thing I know which will never change.

Truth always wins. If you report the facts you can never go wrong. – Peter Williams

We can’t prosper by taking in our own washing so, strutting it on the global stage has to be our modus operandi.And I mean strutting, not just selling low value stuff that rises or falls on the rise or fall of the NZ dollar. Strutting starts with the daring of the ambition and is sustained by the ability to execute.  Ruth Richardson

The frightening retreat from sane economics. Free trade is the path to growth, protectionism is the path to decline. Ruth  Richardson

This is an accidental government formed on the fly and governing on the fly.–  Ruth Richardson

Death of great science on the alter of doctrinal and PC positions doesn’t strike me as the smartest choice.  – Ruth Richardson

I’m satisfied within myself. I’ve got more to do with my life than look at that. Barbara Brinsley

Each of us has made different life choices and, actually, that gives women everywhere role models.

It’s legitimate to choose. We don’t have to be the same, we don’t have to judge each other, we make our own choices. – Dame Jenny Shipley

Every student who walks out of the gate to truant is already a statistic of the worst kind, highly likely to go to prison, highly likely to commit domestic violence or be a victim of domestic violence, be illiterate, be a rape victim, be a suicide victim, be unemployed for the majority of their life, have a major health problem or problems, die at an early age, have an addiction – drugs, gambling, alcohol or smoking. Virginia Crawford

I am Māori. Tuhinga o mua Ngāti Hāmua a Te Hika a Pāpāuma. Ko taku iwi Ngāti Kahungunua a Rangitāne. I am Scottish, I am English, I am a New Zealander. I am not defined by the colour of my skin. I am a victim. I did not choose to be a victim. – Maanki 

If we want to see fewer Māori in prison, our whānau broken apart because dad is in prison and mum is now in rangi (heaven), we must free ourselves and our whānau from the increasing level of domestic violence and abuse in our homes. The drugs must stop, the high level of drinking and violence among our own must be gone.

How many of our fathers are incarcerated, because their fathers taught them the only way to deal with anger was violence, to punch their way through a situation. How many of our whānau have lost a mother, a child, a brother from our people’s own hand. – Maanki

The blame needs to stop. It is not the police, the system, the state, the Government, the justice system or even the Pākehā who made a man beat his wife to death, to rape an innocent stranger, to murder their own child or to sexually abuse a daughter or son.

No, it was a choice, a choice made by a perpetrator. – Maanki


The Senate, collectively, could not find their own arses with a sextant and a well-thumbed copy of Gray’s Anatomy
Jack the Insider

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that God’s table is a smorgasbord of theological truths with some in conflict with others and some more important that others.    People are free to pick and choose from that smorgasbord and do so based on what is important to them. – The Veteran

But I can’t remember not having books. I’d go to the library every week, search every shelf with children’s books, then go home with a stack. . .   Every choice was my choice. Then I could control what went into my head by plugging into new worlds, learning new things and just imagining a different life. . .

When we only look to reinforce our taste and beliefs we lose the opportunity to browse and the opportunity for serendipity, and that’s unfortunate. – Maud Cahill

It was sort of total irritability associated with feeling hungry that would manifest as grumpiness. This void in my stomach would create a void in my sense of humour and my ability to tolerate things. – Simon Morton

This is a partnership designed by a drover’s dog and a clinical psychologist who have absolutely nothing in common except they both have experience dealing with rogue steers who don’t believe in being team players. – Clive Bibby  

I live down in the South Island, and there’s been a lot of farmers trying to curtsey. Most of the time they’re in gumboots. – Dame Lynda Topp

In the west food is produced by a few to feed the many and when people are relieved of the duties of working on farms and subsistence farming the job is handed to a few and people move to the cities and that is when they become disconnected. – Anna Jones

Class is a commodity that doesn’t seem to be in conspicuous supply in politics at the moment. – Chris Finlayson

New Zealand’s real problems are not identity politics, no matter what the left may think. They are that the welfare state has failed. Too many kids don’t get educated. Too many working aged adults are on welfare. Too many are in jail because there is too much crime and they’re never rehabilitated. Housing has gone from a commodity to a ponzi scheme. Our productivity growth is anaemic. With government’s and councils’ approach to regulation, it’s amazing anyone still does anything. Andrew Ketels

I certainly don’t celebrate diversity for its own sake. You have to distinguish pluralism from relativism. Relativism tends towards ‘anything goes’ and that can’t be right

Pluralism is the view that although some ways of living really are wrong, the list of possible good ways to live a flourishing human life and have a good society contains more than one item. – Julian Baggini

We didn’t need a tax on stones, there wasn’t a concern about ‘peak stone’ and we didn’t need to stage protests in front of the chieftains’ caves to argue for the use of bronze. It came down to developing the new technology, which had benefits over the old technology, and disseminating the knowledge. – Andrew Hoggard

I am the culmination of generous moment after generous moment, kind moment after kind moment and that is the glue that holds this country together. – Kurt Fearnley

It is a privilege for any mother to be able to propose a toast to her son on his 70th birthday. It means that you have lived long enough to see your child grow up. It is rather like – to use an analogy I am certain will find favour – planting a tree and being able to watch it grow. – Queen Elizabeth II

When I noticed that I was spending far more time scrolling through my email and Twitter than I was playing on the floor with my son, I realized that the problem wasn’t with screens warping his fragile mind. It was that I’d already allowed my phone to warp mine. So these days, my husband and I try not to use our phones at all in front of our son. Not because I think the devil lives in my iPhone, but because I think, to some extent, a small part of the devil lives in me. – EJ Dickson

The proper purpose of journalism remains as Kovach and Rosenstiel defined it – not to lead society toward the outcome that journalists think is correct, but to give ordinary people  the means to make their own decisions about what’s in their best interests.Karl du Fresne

I’m bloody angry at New Zealand for fighting over Santa and I want us to stop. This is not what Santa’s about. Santa is not about angst and Santa is not about Santa hate.

Santa is about hope, Santa is about dreams. Santa can come down the chimney even when you don’t have a chimney. Santa can come in the ranch slider, Santa can drink craft beer. Santa can drink strawberry-flavoured Lindauer for all I care. – Patrick Gower

The expectation that we rustics just need to lean on the gate chewing a straw and making obscure pronouncements about the weather in impenetrable accents for picturesque effect is entertaining until it dawns on you that your role apparently really is just to provide background local colour and not disturb the peace too much.  Rural places are workplaces — stuff happens down on the farm and that stuff can be noisy.  And not just on the farm — gravel quarries, jet-boat companies and the construction sites of all those new houses that didn’t used to be there. – Kate Scott

Rose-tinted nostalgia strikes us all from time to time, but when it comes with a side of imported urban world view where non-working weekends and the notion of property values is accorded more worth than building community resilience, I begin to feel resentful of the twittering worries of suburbia intruding on my bucolic peace with its soothing soundtrack of barking huntaways, topdressing planes and chainsaws –Kate Scott

I had a gentleman come to my office three years ago. He was a Labour candidate. He ran for the Labour Party. He was coming to see me because he’d been to see his own team—they wouldn’t help him with an issue, so he came to me. Did I say, “Oh, sorry, you’ve been a Labour candidate. I’m not going to assist you. I’m not going to help you.”? No, I didn’t. I actually helped him with his issue, because that’s my job as a member of Parliament. I don’t care whether you support New Zealand First, I don’t care whether you’re a supporter or member of the Labour Party, the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, or the National Party—if you come and ask for help and support, you will get it. That’s my job.-  Mark Mitchell

The only positive outcome from the UN’s 2009 Copenhagen fiasco was the launch of New Zealand’s Global Research Alliance (GRA) to reduce methane and nitrous-oxide emissions, which account for 22 per cent of the world’s GHG total. More than 50 countries are now involved. If the GRA develops science to cut agricultural emissions by two-thirds it would be the equivalent of the US becoming a zero emitter. If it eliminated them, it would be like China going carbon zero. This would benefit the world at least 100 times more than New Zealand becoming net-zero domestically. – Matthew Hooton

No one bets on a horse with a dud jockey.  Simon Bridges

Ms Ardern promised to lead the most open and transparent Government New Zealand has seen. That doesn’t mean picking and choosing to be open and transparent when it benefits her. – Tova O’Brien

Shaw and his comrades have a vision of a different economic model, one that sane people have tunnelled under barbed wire fences to escape. Alas, the sacrifice required to achieve this gender-fluid post-colonial paradise requires a reversal of most of the economic gains of the last 50 years.Damien Grant

The less you trust people, the more distrustful they become and so the more law you need in order to trust them. A good society would not have too much law, because people would do the right thing he says. But in New Zealand we have a lot of law. – Professor Mark Henaghan


365 days of gratitude

September 7, 2018

I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together. –  Queen Elizabeth II

This ability to encourage people to co-operate is one of the qualities that make the world a much better place.

I’m blessed to know lots of people who do it in big ways and small and I’m grateful for it.


Long to reign over us

September 9, 2015

The Queen will break her great-great grandmother’s record as Britain’s longest serving sovereign today:

Queen Elizabeth II passes the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria today who reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes.

But Queen Victoria’s reign was three years shorter in New Zealand – she technically only became our ruler when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed – meaning Queen Elizabeth actually became New Zealand’s longest-reigning monarch back in 2013. . . 

How long she’s served is largely a matter of luck.

How well she’s served is a credit to her.

It’s also a reflection on her dedication to the job which comes with many privileges but is extremely demanding both because of and in spite of that.

 


A loyal toast

June 4, 2012

AT the first wedding I went to, in the early 1970s, the first toast was the loyal (or was it Loyal?) one to the Queen, after which is was permissible to smoke.

Those were the days when we also stood for the National Anthem at the movies and people like my mother who had never been to Britain called it Home.

How things have changed since then, and as Statistics NZ shows, throughout the 60 years of Elizabeth II’s reign:

Deputy Government Statistician Dallas Welch says New Zealand’s population has changed markedly.

“Back in 1952, New Zealand broke through the 2 million population barrier and 60 years on, that’s more than doubled to 4.4 million. Coincidentally, the number of dairy cows has also more than doubled from less than 3 million, to over 6 million.”

Mrs Welch said immigration patterns have also changed.

“When the Queen first took the throne, more than half of our immigrants came from the United Kingdom.

Today that’s more like 17 percent, although in the past year, more people still moved here from the UK than from any other place.

“In trade, the Old Country used to contribute about two-thirds of our export earnings. Last year, 3 percent of our export earnings came from the UK.”

 And as for making a nice cup of tea, in 1952 an electric kettle cost 59 shillings and 6 pence (about $164 in today’s terms) and a lb (500g) pack of tea was 6 shillings and 4 pence (about $16.60). Today a kettle costs about $44 on average, and a box of 100 teabags (about 200g of tea) costs about $4.46.

This weekend Britain has been celebrating the Queen’s jubilee in style.

Celebrations here will be a lot more low-key and I suspect most people will spend little if any time contemplating the reason for today’s holiday.

The distance between New Zealand and Britain has increased in the last 60 years and the attachment to royalty has weakened.

But whatever we might think about the monarchy as an institution, the woman currently wearing the crown can not be criticised for her dedication to duty in the 60 years since she was precipitously thrust into the role of Queen following the sudden death of her father.

In light of that, I raise an electronic glass and offer a toast to Her Majesty.


Quote of the day

January 30, 2012

“I have to be seen to be believed.” Queen Elizabeth II


April 21 in history

April 21, 2011

On April 21:

753 BC – Romulus and Remus founded Rome (traditional date).

 

43 BC Battle of Mutina: Mark Antony was again defeated in battle by Aulus Hirtius, who was killed.

M Antonius.jpg 

1509  Henry VIII ascended the throne of England on the death of his father, Henry VII.

1519 Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz.

1651 Blessed Joseph Vaz, Apostle of Ceylon, was born.

1671 John Law, Scottish economist, was born  (d. 1729) .

1729 Catherine II of Russia, known as ‘Catherine the Great’, was born  (d. 1796) .

1792 Tiradentes, a revolutionary leading a movement for Brazil’s independence, was hung, drawn and quartered.

Figueiredo-MHN-Tiradentes.jpg

1809 Two Austrian army corps were driven from Landshut by a First French Empire army led by Napoleon I of France as two French corps to the north held off the main Austrian army on the first day of the Battle of Eckmühl.

Echmühl.jpg

1816  Charlotte Brontë, English author, was born  (d. 1855) .

1836 Texas Revolution: The Battle of San Jacinto – Republic of Texas forces under Sam Houston defeated troops under Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.

The Battle of San Jacinto (1895).jpg

1838 John Muir, Scottish environmentalist, was born (d. 1914) .

1863 Bahá’u’lláh, considered the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, declared his mission as “He whom God shall make manifest“.

 

1894 Norway formally adopted the Krag-Jørgensen rifle as the main arm of its armed forces, a weapon that would remain in service for almost 50 years.

Norwegian K-J M1912 closeup.png

1898 Spanish-American War: The U.S. Congress, recognised that a state of war existed between the United States and Spain.

1915 Anthony Quinn, Mexican-born American actor, was born (2001) .

1918 World War I: German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, known as “The Red Baron”, was shot down and killed over Vaux sur Somme.

 

1922 The first Aggie Muster was held as a remembrance for fellow Aggies who had died in the previous year.

 

1923 John Mortimer, English barrister and writer, was born (d. 2009) .

Rumpole.png

1926  Queen Elizabeth II was born.

Head and shoulders portrait of a thoughtful-looking toddler with curly, fair hair 

1942 World War II: The most famous (and first international) Aggie Muster was held on the Philippine island of Corregidor, by Brigadier General George F. Moore (with 25 fellow Aggies who are under his command), while 1.8 million pounds of shells pounded the island over a 5 hour attack.

 

1952 Secretarys’ Day (now Administrative Professionals’ Day) was first celebrated.

1959 Robert Smith, British musician (The Cure), was born.

1960 Brasília, Brazil’s capital, was officially inaugurated. At 9:30 am the Three Powers of the Republic were simultaneously transferred from the old capital, Rio de Janeiro.

1960 – Founding of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith in Washington, D.C.

1961 The first Golden Shears contest was held – won by Ivan Bowen.

First Golden Shears competition

 1962 The Seattle World’s Fair (Century 21 Exposition) opened – the first World’s Fair in the United States since World War II.

 

1963 The Universal House of Justice of the Bahá’í Faith was elected for the first time.

 

1964 A Transit-5bn satellite failed to reach orbit after launch; as it re-entered the atmosphere, 2.1 pounds of radioactive plutonium in its SNAP RTG power source was widely dispersed.

 

1965 The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair opened for its second and final season.

1966  Rastafari movement: Haile Selassie of Ethiopia visited Jamaica, an event now celebrated as Grounation Day.

1967  A few days before the general election in Greece, Colonel George Papadopoulos led a coup d’état, establishing a military regime that lasted for seven years.

1970 The Hutt River Province Principality seceded from Australia.

Hutt River Flag.jpg Hutt River Seal.jpg

1975  Vietnam War: President of South Vietnam Nguyen Van Thieu fled Saigon, as Xuan Loc, the last South Vietnamese outpost blocking a direct North Vietnamese assault on Saigon, fell.

 

1987 Tamil Tigers were blamed for a car bomb that exploded in Colombo, killing 106 people.

Ltte emblem.jpg

1989 – Tiananmen Square Protests: In Beijing, around 100,000 students gathered in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Chinese reform leader Hu Yaobang.

 

1993 – The Supreme Court in La Paz, Bolivia, sentenced former dictator Luis Garcia Meza to 30 years in jail without parole for murder, theft, fraud and violating the constitution.

1994 – The first discoveries of extrasolar planets were announced by astronomer Alexander Wolszczan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


April 21 in history

April 21, 2010

On April 21:

753 BC – Romulus and Remus founded Rome (traditional date).

 

43 BC Battle of Mutina: Mark Antony was again defeated in battle by Aulus Hirtius, who was killed.

M Antonius.jpg 

1509  Henry VIII ascended the throne of England on the death of his father, Henry VII.

1519 Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz.

1651 Blessed Joseph Vaz, Apostle of Ceylon, was born.

1671 John Law, Scottish economist, was born.

1729 Catherine II of Russia, known as ‘Catherine the Great’, was born.

1792 Tiradentes, a revolutionary leading a movement for Brazil’s independence, was hung, drawn and quartered.

Figueiredo-MHN-Tiradentes.jpg

1809 Two Austrian army corps were driven from Landshut by a First French Empire army led by Napoleon I of France as two French corps to the north held off the main Austrian army on the first day of the Battle of Eckmühl.

Echmühl.jpg

1816  Charlotte Brontë, English author, was born.

1836 Texas Revolution: The Battle of San Jacinto – Republic of Texas forces under Sam Houston defeated troops under Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.

The Battle of San Jacinto (1895).jpg

1838 John Muir, Scottish environmentalist, was born.

1863 Bahá’u’lláh, considered the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, declared his mission as “He whom God shall make manifest“.

 

1894 Norway formally adopted the Krag-Jørgensen rifle as the main arm of its armed forces, a weapon that would remain in service for almost 50 years.

Norwegian K-J M1912 closeup.png

1898 Spanish-American War: The U.S. Congress, recognised that a state of war existed between the United States and Spain.

1915 Anthony Quinn, Mexican-born American actor, was born.

1918 World War I: German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, known as “The Red Baron”, was shot down and killed over Vaux sur Somme.

 

1922 The first Aggie Muster was held as a remembrance for fellow Aggies who had died in the previous year.

 

1923 John Mortimer, English barrister and writer, was born.

Rumpole.png

1926  Queen Elizabeth II was born.

Head and shoulders portrait of a thoughtful-looking toddler with curly, fair hair 

1942 World War II: The most famous (and first international) Aggie Muster was held on the Philippine island of Corregidor, by Brigadier General George F. Moore (with 25 fellow Aggies who are under his command), while 1.8 million pounds of shells pounded the island over a 5 hour attack.

 

1952 Secretarys’ Day (now Administrative Professionals’ Day) was first celebrated.

1959 Robert Smith, British musician (The Cure), was born.

1960 Brasília, Brazil’s capital, was officially inaugurated. At 9:30 am the Three Powers of the Republic were simultaneously transferred from the old capital, Rio de Janeiro.

1960 – Founding of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith in Washington, D.C.

1961 The first Golden Shears contest was held – won by Ivan Bowen.

First Golden Shears competition

 1962 The Seattle World’s Fair (Century 21 Exposition) opened – the first World’s Fair in the United States since World War II.

 

1963 The Universal House of Justice of the Bahá’í Faith was elected for the first time.

 

1964 A Transit-5bn satellite failed to reach orbit after launch; as it re-entered the atmosphere, 2.1 pounds of radioactive plutonium in its SNAP RTG power source was widely dispersed.

 

1965 The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair opened for its second and final season.

1966  Rastafari movement: Haile Selassie of Ethiopia visited Jamaica, an event now celebrated as Grounation Day.

1967  A few days before the general election in Greece, Colonel George Papadopoulos led a coup d’état, establishing a military regime that lasted for seven years.

1970 The Hutt River Province Principality seceded from Australia.

Hutt River Flag.jpg Hutt River Seal.jpg

1975  Vietnam War: President of South Vietnam Nguyen Van Thieu fled Saigon, as Xuan Loc, the last South Vietnamese outpost blocking a direct North Vietnamese assault on Saigon, fell.

 

1987 Tamil Tigers were blamed for a car bomb that exploded in Colombo, killing 106 people.

Ltte emblem.jpg

1989 – Tiananmen Square Protests: In Beijing, around 100,000 students gathered in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Chinese reform leader Hu Yaobang.

 

1993 – The Supreme Court in La Paz, Bolivia, sentenced former dictator Luis Garcia Meza to 30 years in jail without parole for murder, theft, fraud and violating the constitution.

1994 – The first discoveries of extrasolar planets were announced by astronomer Alexander Wolszczan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Tuesday’s answers

March 2, 2010

Monday’s questions were:

 1. Who was the Greek goddess of  civilization, wisdom, strength, strategy, craft, justice and skill?

2. What are the female seeds of humulus lupulus called?

3. What is a pantisocracy?

4. What did/do Lewis Caroll, Bob Dylan, Albert Einstein, Fidel Castro, H.G. Wells, Cole Porter, Pele, Nietzsche, and Queen Elizabeth II have in common?

5. What is a terremoto?

Inventory 2 gets a point for lateral thinking.

Andrei got four right and a bonus for the albatross.

David got two right, gets the quarter point he sought for pedantry, a bonus for teaching me something and another bonus for restraint over #3.

Paul got four correct and while his answer to #4 wasn’t the one I was seeking it was right.

Gravedoger got two right and a bonus for lateral thinking for his answer to #3.

PDM gets a consolation long-distance bonus.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


Monday’s quiz

March 1, 2010

 1. Who was the Greek goddess of  civilization, wisdom, strength, strategy, craft, justice and skill?

2. What are the female seeds of humulus lupulus called?

3. What is a pantisocracy?

4. What did/do Lewis Caroll, Bob Dylan, Albert Einstein, Fidel Castro, H.G. Wells, Cole Porter, Pele, Nietzsche, and Queen Elizabeth II have in common?

5. What is a terremoto?


February 6 in history

February 6, 2010

On February 6:

1664 Mustafa II, Ottoman Sultan, was born

II Mustafa.jpg

1685 – James II of England and VII of Scotland became King upon the death of his brother Charles II.

1778 In Paris the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce were signed by the United States and France signaling official recognition of the new republic.

1815  New Jersey granted the first American railroad charter to John Stevens.

1817 José de San Martín crossed the Andes with an army in order to liberate Chile from Spanish rule.

1819 Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles founded Singapore.

1820 The first 86 African American immigrants sponsored by the American Colonization Society started a settlement in present-day Liberia.

1840 Around 40 Maori chiefs, led by Hone Heke, signed a treaty with the British Crown at Waitangi.

The Treaty of Waitangi is signed

1842 Mary Rudge, English chess master, was born.

 1843  The first minstrel show in the United States, The Virginia Minstrels opened in Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City.

 

1848 Walter B. Pitkin, American lecturer in philosophy and psychology, was born.

1862 Ulysses S. Grant gives the United States ts first victory of the Amnerican Civil War war in the Battle of Fort Henry by capturing Fort Henry, Tennessee.

Battle of Fort Henry.png

1894 Eric Partridge, New Zealand lexicographer, was born.

1895  Babe Ruth, American baseball player, was born.

1899 The Treaty of Paris, a peace treaty between the United States and Spain, was ratified by the United States Senate.

1900 The international arbitration court at The Hague was created when the Netherlands’ Senate ratified an 1899 peace conference decree.

1911 Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States, was born.

 

1912  Eva Braun, wife of Adolf Hitler, was born.

1917 Zsa Zsa Gábor, Hungarian-born actress, was born.

1922 Denis Norden, British radio and television personality, was born.

1922 The Washington Naval Treaty was signed, limiting the naval armaments of United States, Britain, Japan, France, and Italy.

Guns from battleships being scrapped in Philadelphia Navy Yard in December 1923

1933 The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution went into effect.

1934 Far right leagues rally in front of the Palais Bourbon in an attempted coup against the French Third Republic, creating a political crisis in France.

1945 Bob Marley, Jamaican musician, was born.

Black and white picture of a man with long dreadlocks playing the guitar on stage.

1947 The trans-Tasman liner Wanganella was refloated after 18 days stuck on Barrett Reef.

Liner <em>Wanganella</em> refloated after 18 days on Barrett Reef

1950 Natalie Cole, American singer, was born.

1951 The Broker, a Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train derailed near Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, killing 85 people and injuring over 500 more.

1952 Elizabeth II became Queen upon the death of her father George VI.

 

 Handwritten "Elizabeth R" with a tailed z and an underscore

1958 Eight Manchester United F.C. players were killed in the Munich air disaster.

1959 Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments filed the first patent for an integrated circuit.

       

1959 – At Cape Canaveral, the first successful test firing of a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile was accomplished.

1962 W. Axl Rose, American singer (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1976 Princess Marie of Denmark, was born.

Royal Coat of Arms of Denmark.svg

1978 The Blizzard of 1978, one of the worst Nor’easters in New England history, hit the region, with sustained winds of 65 mph and snowfall of 4″ an hour.

1987 Justice Mary Gaudron became the first woman appointed to the High Court of Australia.

1989 The Roundtable talks started in Poland marking the beginning of overthrow of communism in Eastern Europe.

 

1992 The Saami people of the Nordic countries had an official day celebrating their existence.

 SamiWikibasedCollage.JPG

 

 Mari BoineLars Levi LæstadiusLisa ThomassonHelga PedersenRenée ZellwegerOle Henrik Magga

2004 Princess Louise of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Princess of Belgium, was born.

Greater Coat of Arms of Belgium.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia.


January 30 in history

January 30, 2010

On January 30:

1648 Eighty Years’ War: The Treaty of Münster and Osnabrück was signed, ending the conflict between the Netherlands and Spain.

1649 King Charles I of England was beheaded.

1661 Oliver Cromwell, was ritually executed two years after his death, on the anniversary of the execution of the monarch he himself deposed.

1790  The first boat specializing as a lifeboat was tested on the River Tyne.

1806 The original Lower Trenton Bridge (also called the Trenton Makes the World Takes Bridge), which spans the Delaware River between Morrisville, Pennsylvania and Trenton, New Jersey, was opened.

1820 Edward Bransfield sighted the Trinity Peninsula and claimed the discovery of Antarctica.

 Bransfield Strait

1826 The Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the world’s first modern suspension bridge, connecting the Isle of Anglesey to the north West coast of Wales, opened.

 

1835 In the first assassination attempt against a President of the United States, Richard Lawrence attempted to shoot president Andrew Jackson, but failed and was subdued by a crowd, including several congressmen.

 The etching of the assassination attempt.

1841 A fire destroyed two-thirds of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

1847 Yerba Buena, California was renamed San Francisco.

1858 The first Hallé concert iwa given in Manchester, England, marking the official founding of the Hallé Orchestra as a full-time, professional orchestra.

1862 The first American ironclad warship, the USS Monitor was launched.

1882  Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, was born.

1889 – Archduke Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, is found dead with his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera in Mayerling.

1911 An amendment to the Gaming Act at the end of 1910 banned bookmakers from racecourses in New Zealand. Bookies were officially farewelled at the now defunct Takapuna racecourse.

Bookies banned from NZ racecourses

1911 The destroyer USS Terry (DD-25) makes the first airplane rescue at sea saving the life of James McCurdy 10 miles from Havana.

1911 – The Canadian Naval Service became the Royal Canadian Navy.

Canadian Blue Ensign 1921.svg

1913 The House of Lords rejected the Irish Home Rule Bill.

1925 The Government of Turkey threw Patriarch Constantine VI out of Istanbul.

1929 Lucille Teasdale-Corti, Canadian surgeon and international aid worker, was born.

1930 Gene Hackman, American actor, was born.

1930 The world’s second radiosonde is launched in Pavlovsk USSR.

1931 Shirley Hazzard, Australian-born author, was born.

 

1933 Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

1937 Vanessa Redgrave, English actress, was born.

1941 – Dick Cheney, 46th Vice President of the United States, was born.

1945  World War II: The Wilhelm Gustloff, overfilled with refugees, sunk in the Baltic Sea after being torpedoed by a Soviet submarine, leading to the deadliest known maritime disaster, killing approximately 9,000 people.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H27992, Lazarettschiff "Wilhelm Gustloff" in Danzig.jpg

1945  Raid at Cabanatuan: 126 American Rangers and Filipino resistance liberated 500 prisoners from the Cabanatuan POW camp.

POWs celebrate.jpg

1945 Hitler gives his last ever public address, a radio address on the 12th anniversary of his coming to power. (

1947 Steve Marriott, English musician (Humble Pie, The Small Faces), was born.

 

1948Indian pacifist and leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist.

1951 Phil Collins, English musician, was born.

 

1954 Queens EliZabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh  left New Zealand, bringing to an end the first tour by a ruling monarch.

Queen farewells New Zealand

1956 American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s home is bombed in retaliation for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

 National City Lines  bus, No. 2857, on which Rosa Parks was riding before she was arrested

1960 The African National Party was founded in Chad through the merger of traditionalist parties.

1960  Lily Potter, (fictional character) Mother of Harry J. Potter and Member of The Order of the Phoenix, was born.

 The Potters as illustrated by Mary GrandPré.

1962 King Abdullah II of Jordan, was born.

1964  Ranger 6 was launched.

Ranger 6

1968 Prince Felipe of Spain, was born.

1969 The Beatles‘ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London.

A terrace building. Its ground floor has plaster render inscribed to look like stone, the middle three are red brick, and the top is an attic. Each floor has four sash windows with a dozen or more panes each, except that the bottom floor has a door in place of the second window. Apple Corps building at 3 Savile Row, site of the Let It Be rooftop concert

1971 Carole King’s Tapestry album was released, it would become the longest charting album by a female solo artist and sell 24 million copies worldwide.

1972 Bloody Sunday: British Paratroopers killed 14 unarmed civil rights/anti internment marchers in Northern Ireland.

1972 Pakistan withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations.

1979 Varig 707-323C freighter,  disappeared over the Pacific Ocean 30 minutes after taking off from Tokyo.

1982 Richard Skrenta wrote the first PC virus code, which was 400 lines long and disguised as an Appleboot program called “Elk Cloner”.

1989 The American embassy in Kabul closed.

1994 Péter Lékó became the youngest chess grand master.

Peter Leko 06 08 2006.jpg

1995 Workers from the National Institutes of Health announced the success of clinical trials testing the first preventive treatment for sickle-cell disease.

1996 Gino Gallagher, the suspected leader of the Irish National Liberation Army, was killed while waiting in line for his unemployment benefit.

1996 – Comet Hyakutake was discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake.

Comet Hyakutake captured by the Hubble Space Telescope 

2000 Off the coast of Ivory Coast, Kenya Airways Flight 431 crashes into the Atlantic  killing 169.

2003 Belgium becomes the second country in the world to legally recognise same-sex marriage.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


January 12 in history

January 12, 2010

On January 12:

475  Basiliscus becomes Byzantine Emperor, with a coronation ceremony in the Hebdomon palace in Constantinople.

Solidus Basiliscus-RIC 1003.jpg

1729 Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, was born.

1777 Mission Santa Clara de Asís is founded in what is now Santa Clara, California.

Mission Santa Clara de Asís

1808 The organizational meeting that led to the creation of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society,wais held in Edinburgh.

 Robert Jameson, founder and life president of the Wernerian Society

1848  The Palermo rising takes place in Sicily against the Bourbon kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

1863, Swami Vivekananda, Indian philosopher, was born.

1866  The Royal Aeronautical Society was formed in London.

1872  Yohannes IV was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in Axum, the first imperial coronation in that city in over 200 years.

Yohannesson.jpg

1876 Jack London, American author, was born.

1893 Hermann Göring, German Nazi official, was born.

1895 The National Trust was founded in the United Kingdom.

1906 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman‘s cabinet (which included amongst its members H. H. Asquith, David Lloyd George, and Winston Churchill) embarks on sweeping social reforms after a Liberal landslide in the British general election.

1908 A long-distance radio message is sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time.

1911 The University of the Philippines College of Law was formally established; three future Philippine presidents were among the first enrollees.

 1915 The Rocky Mountain National Park was formed by an act of U.S. Congress.

1915  The United States House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote.

1916 Pieter Willem Botha, South African politician, was born.

1917  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Indian spiritualist, was born.

1918 Finland’s “Mosaic Confessors” law went into effect, making Finnish Jews full citizens.

1932 Hattie W. Caraway became the first woman elected to the United States Senate.

1932 Des O’Connor, British television presenter, was born.

1941  Long John Baldry, British blues singer, was born.

1945  Maggie Bell, Scottish singer (Stone the Crows), was born.

1946  Cynthia Robinson, American musician (Sly & the Family Stone), was born.

1951 Kirstie Alley, American actress, was born.

1952  John Walker, New Zealand middle distance runner, was born.

1954 Queen Eilzabeth II opened a special session of the New Zealand Parliament in its centennial year. It was the first time New Zealand’s Parliament had been opened by a reigning monarch

QEII opens NZ Parliament
 

1964 Rebels in Zanzibar began a revolt known as the Zanzibar Revolution and proclaimed a republic.

1967  Dr. James Bedford became the first person to be cryonically preserved with intent of future resuscitation.

1968 Heather Mills, British activist and model, was born.

1970  Biafra capitulated, ending the Nigerian civil war.

1974 Melanie Chisholm, British singer (Spice Girls), was born.

1976 The UN Security Council votes 11-1 to allow the Palestine Liberation Organisation to participate in a Security Council debate (without voting rights).

1991 Gulf War: An act of the U.S. Congress authorised the use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.

1992 A new constitution, providing for freedom to form political parties, was approved by a referendum in Mali.

1998 Nineteen European nations agree to forbid human cloning.

2004 The world’s largest ocean liner, RMS Queen Mary 2, made its maiden voyage.

Queen Mary II Einlaufen Hamburg Hafengeburtstag 2006 -2.jpg

2005 Deep Impact launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta 2 rocket.

Deep Impact.jpg

2006 The foreign ministers of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany declare that negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program have reached a dead end and recommend that Iran be referred to the United Nations Security Council.

2006  A stampede during the Stoning the Devil ritual on the last day at the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia, killed at least 362 Muslim pilgrims.

2007  Comet McNaught reached perihelion becoming the brightest comet in more than 40 years.

Comet McNaught as seen from Swift's Creek, Victoria on January 23, 2007

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


December 23 in history

December 23, 2009

On December 23:

1732 Richard Arkwright, English industrialist and inventor, was born.

Richard Arkwright by Joseph Wright of Derby

1822  Wilhelm Bauer, German engineer, was born.

1867  Madam C.J. Walker, American philanthropist and tycoon, was born.

1893 The opera Hänsel und Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck was first performed.

1913 The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve.

 

1914  World War I: Australian and New Zealand troops arrived in Cairo, Egypt.

1925  Rayner Unwin, British book publisher, was born.

1933  Akihito, Emperor of Japan, was born.

1937  First flight of the Vickers Wellington bomber.

1938  Discovery of the first modern coelacanth in South Africa.

1947 The transistor was first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories.

 A replica of the first working transistor

1951  Anthony Phillips, British musician (Genesis), was born.

1953 Queen Elizabeth II arrived in New Zealand, the first reigning monarch to visit.

Queen Elizabeth II arrives for summer tour

1954  The first human kidney transplant is performed by Dr. Joseph E. Murray at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

1958  Dedication of Tokyo Tower, world’s highest self-supporting iron tower.

Tokyo Tower 20060211.JPG

1964 Eddie Vedder, American musician (Pearl Jam), was born.

1970 The North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan was topped out at 1,368 feet (417 m), making it the tallest building in the world.

Wtc arial march2001.jpg

1972 The Nicaraguan capital of Managua was struck by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake which killed more than 10,000.

1972 The 16 survivors of the Andes flight disaster were rescued after 73 days, having survived by cannibalism.

1986  Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California becoming the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world.

 

1990  In a referendum, 88% of Slovenia‘s population vote for independence from Yugoslavia.

2002 A MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25, making it the first time in history that an aircraft and an unmanned drone had engaged in combat.

2004  Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean was hit by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake.

2005  Chad declares a state of war against Sudan following a December 18 attack on Adré, which left about 100 people dead.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.


December 20 in history

December 20, 2009

On December 20:

1192  Richard the Lion-Heart was captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after signing a treaty with Saladin ending the Third crusade.

  • 1522Suleiman the Magnificent accepted the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who were allowed to evacuate. They eventually settled on Malta and became known as the Knights of Malta.
  •  

     
  • 1803 – The Louisiana Purchase was completed at a ceremony in New Orleans.
  • Location of Louisiana Purchase
     
    1865  Elsie De Wolfe, American socialite and interior decorator, was born.
     
    1868 Harvey Firestone, American automobile pioneer, was born.
     
    1894  Sir Robert Menzies, twelfth Prime Minister of Australia was born.
     
    1901  Robert Van de Graaff, American physicist and inventor, was born.
     
     
    1907  Paul Francis Webster, songwriter, was born.
     
     1913 The Great Strike of 1913, which had begun in late October when Wellington waterside workers stopped work, ended when the United Federation of Labour (UFL) conceded defeat.

    Waterfront strike ends

    1927  Kim Young-sam, first civilian President of South Korea after a series of dictatorships, was born.
     
    1944  Bobby Colomby, American musician (Blood, Sweat & Tears), was born.
    1945 Peter Criss, American drummer and singer (Kiss), was born.
    1948 Alan Parsons, British music producer and artist, was born.

    1951 The EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho becomes the first nuclear power plant to generate electricy.  The electricity powered four light bulbs.

    Experimental Breeder Reactor Number 1 in Idaho, the first power reactor.

    1955Cardiff was proclaimed the capital city of Wales.

     Cardiff City Hall

    1957  Billy Bragg, English singer and songwriter, was born.

    1973 Spanish Prime Minister, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, was assassinated by a car bomb attack in Madrid.

    1984 The Summit tunnel fire, the largest underground fire in history, as a freight train carrying over 1 million litres of petrol derails near the town of Todmorden in the Pennines.

     1987 History’s worst peacetime sea disaster, when the passenger ferry Doña Paz sank after colliding with the oil tanker Vector 1 in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines  killing an estimated 4,000 people (1,749 official).

    1988 The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances was signed in Vienna

    1989  United States invasion of Panama: The United States sent troops into Panama to overthrow government of Manuel Noriega.

    1995  NATO began peacekeeping in Bosnia.

    1996 NeXT merged with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X.

    1999 Macau was handed over to the People’s Republic of China by Portugal.

    2007  Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days.

    Smiling elderly lady with grey hair wearing a matching hat and dress

    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


    November 20 in history

    November 20, 2009

    On November 20:

    1620 – Peregrine White,  was born – first English child born in the Plymouth Colony.

     

    The Pilgrim Hall Museum owns the original Peregrine White cradle and Elder Brewster Chair

    1765  Sir Thomas Fremantle, British naval captain, was born.

    1820 An 80-ton sperm whale attacked the Essex (a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts) 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America (Herman Melville‘s 1851 novel Moby-Dick was in part inspired by this story).

    Essex photo 03 b.jpg

    1889  Edwin Hubble, American astronomer, was born.

    1900 – Chester Gould, American comic strip artist, creator of Dick Tracey, was born.

    1908 – Alistair Cooke, British-born journalist, was born.

    Alistair Cooke, March 18, 1974 interview

    1910 Francisco I. Madero issued the Plan de San Luis Potosi, denouncing President Porfirio Díaz, calling for a revolution to overthrow the government of Mexico, effectively starting the Mexican Revolution.

    1917 Ukraine was declared a republic.

    1925 Robert F. Kennedy, American politician was born.

    1942  Joe Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States, was born.

    1945 Trials against 24 Nazi war criminals started at the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg.

    1947 Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey.

    1956 – Bo Derek, American actress, was born.

    1962 Cuban Missile Crisis ended: In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ended the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.

     

    1975 Francisco Franco, Caudillo of Spain, died after 36 years in power.

    1985 Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released.

    1992 A fire broke out in Windsor Castle, badly damaging the castle and causing over £50 million worth of damage.

    2008 After critical failures in the US financial system began to build up after mid-September, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its lowest level since 1997.

    1937 Parachuting Santa, George Sellars, narrowly escaped serious injury when he was able to sway his parachute just in time to avoid crashing through the glass roof of the Winter Gardens during the Farmers’ Christmas parade.

    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


    September 20 in history

    September 20, 2009

    On September 20:

    1519 Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda on a voyage to circumnavigate the globe.

    1633 Galileo Galilei was tried by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for teaching the earth orbits the sun.

    1946 The first Cannes Film Festival was held.

    Festival de cannes logo.png

    1954 New Zealand’s Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents released the Mazengarb report.

    1957 Musician Alannah Currie was born.

    1962 The RMS Queen Elizabeth II was launched.

    1971 All Black Todd Blackadder was born.

    1979 Lee Iacocca was elected president of the Chrysler Corporation.

    Sourced from Wikipedia.


    Tuesday’s answers

    June 2, 2009

    Monday’s questions were:

    1. Name a band and a song it sings which are both palindromes.

    2. Who wrote Breakfast at Six?

    3. Who said, There’s a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply callisthenics with words.?

    4. Which language is spoken as a first language in the most countries?

    5. It’s Queen’s Birthday today – but when is Queen Elizabeth II’s real birthday?

    For the first time all questions were answered correctly.

    An electronic bunch of flowers goes to Paul Tremewan who got all 5.

    Kismet got 2, 3, 4 and half of 5.

    I thought Ed Snack was right with 4 but if Wikipedia is to be believed, we were both wrong.

    PDM gets a point for trying.

    Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

    Read the rest of this entry »


    Monday’s Quiz

    June 1, 2009

    1. Name a band and a song it sings which are both palindromes.

    2. Who wrote Breakfast at Six?

    3. Who said, There’s a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply callisthenics with words.?

    4. Which language is spoken as a first language in the most countries?

    5. It’s Queen’s Birthday today – but when is Queen Elizabeth II’s real birthday?


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